Cover Shot

TV review by
Lucy Maher, Common Sense Media
Cover Shot TV Poster Image
Feel-good makeovers send somewhat mixed messages.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Conveys the iffy message that looking good will cure you of your emotional ills and is a sure-fire means to feeling great.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although the subjects of this series don't go under the knife, the premise isn't that far off of other "extreme makeover" shows: In each episode, a meek woman undergoes a dramatic transformation into a beautiful flower thanks to the work of hair stylists, makeup artists, and wardrobe consultants. The focus is on looking good as a means to feeling better -- which is always a bit of a mixed message.

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What's the story?

In COVER SHOT, supermodel Frederique Van Der Wal and a team of stylists make an average woman over, photograph her in a makeshift modeling studio, and reveal the chosen shot in the form of a billboard in New York City's Times Square. Van Der Wal visits each subject at home and then escorts her to the Cover Shot studio, where the makeoveree is outfitted in various gowns and tended to by hair and makeup artists before stepping in front of the cameras. By the end of the episode, most subjects' confidence is soaring -- particularly when they get to see the glamorous, billboard-sized photo of themselves.

Is it any good?

The Cover Shot premise -- every woman is beautiful and deserves to feel so -- is good, and most of the transformations are of the feel-good variety. But some episodes might leave viewers feeling uncomfortable. For example, Liz, a gastric bypass patient, appeared quite shy next to Van Der Wal, and at times seemed unable to match the enthusiasm for the project that Van Der Wal and her stylists exhibited.

What's more, while one of the show's goals is to make viewers realize that models are "just like us" (and that they manage to look so good thanks to a lot of behind-the-scenes work), parents might wonder why so much emphasis is put on appearance as a means to attaining confidence -- as opposed to becoming skilled in a sport or a new hobby. But that's a failing most makeover shows have; if it hasn't bothered you (or your kids) in the past, it probably won't now.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the media's portrayal of women. Why are the majority of mainstream models much thinner and taller than the average woman? How do the images published in magazines make teens and young women feel about themselves? Would you want to go through a makeover process like this? Why or why not?

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